About: Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín


Title: Nora Webster

Author: Colm Tóibín

Published: Picador: Pan Macmillan Au October 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from October 11 to 12, 2014 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

I am somewhat embarrassed to be declaring this a DNF. Despite the appeal of the premise and some appreciation for Toibin’s style I found I was wholly uninterested in Nora’s grief and finally admitted defeat at the halfway point. However I did request this book for review and Nora Webster is receiving rave reviews from critics, who seem to think it will likely be nominated for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, so I wanted to share it with you.

It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them. Slowly, through the gift of music and the power of friendship, she finds a glimmer of hope and a way of starting again. As the dynamic of the family changes, she seems both fiercely self-possessed but also a figure of great moral ambiguity, making her one of the most memorable heroines in contemporary fiction. The portrait that is painted in the years that follow is harrowing, piercingly insightful, always tender and deeply true.


Nora Webster is available to purchase from

Pan Macmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

 Amazon US

and all good bookstores.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deborah
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 13:08:44

    Some books simply aren’t for us. I think it’s kinda empowering to sometimes just put something aside. I usually know if I’m avoiding something night after night, it’s not a good sign!



  2. Col
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 18:13:01

    I’ve got a bit of an on-off relationship with Colm Toibin myself but I always look forward to his new books. In last three alone I loved Testament Of Mary and Brooklyn but Empty Family was a serious struggle to get to the finishing line!



  3. Amanda @ Go Book Yourself
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 21:02:00

    I’ve never read anything by colm before and I have this on my kindle. Hoping to get to it soon!



  4. Brona
    Oct 16, 2014 @ 19:47:57

    I’m experiencing that right with my Booker shortlist book The Lives of Others…but I’m over half way through & there have been some great bits, but it’s just not flowing well for me.

    I have Nora on my TBR pile as I’ve been reading a lot of things about grief and loss lately, so maybe she’ll be a better fit for me right now :-/



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